Updated 22/04/22

2021 - 2022

South Africa


Aquatic organisms are valuable sources of nutrients that play an important role in human nutrition. While global wild seafood catch has remained relatively unchanged for the past decades, global aquaculture production has been growing fast to meet the world's increasing demand for aquatic food.

However, most of the aquaculture research has been directed toward improving the performance of the farmed species rather than of their nutritional value for human nutrition and health. In this context, the ‘nutrition-sensitive’ approach to aquaculture has recently emerged to reorient aquaculture production towards improving nutrition and health outcomes. Marine aquaculture by-products are a valuable source of minerals, vitamins, protein and lipid fractions with a high number of potential uses including food and animal feeds.

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© IRD - Anne Lemahieu

An aquaculture farm cage during feeding.

In South Africa, fish is a critical food source for many of the traditional fishing communities, many of whom are considered food insecure. Despite being considered a ‘food-secure’ nation, current studies indicate that South Africans are severely affected by vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, zinc and essential fatty acid deficiencies. Although the region has shown a decreasing trend in fish landings, South Africa’s aquaculture sector is still in its infant phase, and current government initiatives are fostering its sustainable development to contribute to food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and income creation.



Aquacultured urchin for taste trials in South Africa

© Brett Macey

The goal of this project is to characterize the nutritional value (proximate composition, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins) of several marine organisms (finfish, molluscs, echinoderms, seaweeds) that are currently farmed or candidate aquaculture species and their by-products to determine their beneficial value as a whole and to identify nutritional and functional ingredients for human consumption and/or for animal feeds. This project constitutes an essential step towards the establishment of key strategies for the development of a nutrition sensitive marine aquaculture in South Africa.



Scientific coordination: Maria Darias, MARBEC



Montpellier University of Excellence